Posts Tagged With: Malediction

2017 – The Year Ahead

KaleDelilahFinal-CharReedAs a new year begins, it’s time to take stock of what projects I have on the table and where they all stand.

“Burble’s Big Day”
A short story I wrote for an collaborative Author’s Avenue anthology (the quality of which I was extremely displeased with), this will also come out soon as a short, middle-grade short story book with art by Brian Patterson (of d20Monkey fame). I’m going to edit it once more for good measure, but aside from the art, it is essentially finished. It will be available at Gen Con, if not sooner, in a deluxe full-color edition. I like to have something special to offer at Gen Con, and this is it for this year. This will be great for those of you with younger children interested in fantasy.

Scars of the Sundering, book 3: Salvation
Editing and revisions are underway. I hope to have it finished and published by Memorial Day weekend.

Zack Jackson & the Secret of Venus
The first draft collects dust, awaiting it’s day in the light of editing. Basically, this is going to sit until Salvation is done. Still, I hope to have it finished and published for Gen Con.

Scars of the Sundering, book 1: Malediction – Audio version
This is still in production. I’m just waiting on the narrator (Dan the Bard) to finish. Fun fact: this is the only audio-production of a fantasy novel I know of that will be narrated by an actual bard.

Of course, none of these projects are a new novel for me to write in 2017. I’m developing a couple of different story ideas right now. One is a young-adult novel/series for the World of Calliome set ten-plus years after Scars of the Sundering. Another is a sort of cyberpunk/urban fantasy set several thousand years in Calliome’s future. I’m not sure where my muse will ultimately take me, I’m also interested in writing some supplements or adventures for a role-playing game (which depends on my mood, potential collaborators, and various licensing factors). Of course, I intend to write the fifth Zack Jackson novel in 2017, Zack Jackson & The Ruins of Athos.

Here’s hoping your 2017 will be as productive and fulfilling and I’m going to try to make mine!

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New Page for Art

KaleDelilahFinal-CharReedFrequent visitors may notice a slight change to the site. I rearranged the options on the menu bar at the top of the page and added one: Visions of Art.

Visions of Art is the page on which the various pieces of character art, maps, and concept art will reside. I already posted everything on Pinterest (including logos and covers), but if you don’t have an account, using Pinterest can be kind of a pain.

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2016: The Year Ahead

So what can you look forward to in 2016?

Most of my time, at least, in the first half of the year, will be devoted to revising and publishing Scars of the Sundering, books 2 and 3: Lament and Salvation. My goal is to have Lament finish for a debut at ConQuesT in Kansas City over Memorial Day and Salvation finished to debut at Gen Con in August.

Finishing and turning in “Burble’s Big Day” will take part of my time in the first quarter, as well.

I plan to write a second World of Calliome short story in 2016, though I don’t know which characters it will feature at this point.

The big project for 2016, as if publishing two full-length novels wasn’t big enough, will be to write the first draft of the next Zack Jackson novel, Zack Jackson & The Secret of Venus. I’ve been developing bits of plot over the last several months and I expect sometime after Lament‘s completion, I’ll kick development into high gear.

2015 threw me a lot of curve balls which affected many of my plans. Malediction was supposed to debut at ConQuesT and I barely finished it in time for Gen Con. I wanted to have all three Scars of the Sundering novels finished by Gen Con so I could start Zack Jackson 4 in 2015.

Obviously that didn’t happen. Here’s hoping 2016 is a little more cooperative, ’cause I don’t have time for nonsense!

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2015 Year in Review

I know, I know: I’m two weeks into 2016 already, so this is a little late. Better late than never, right?

So, what did I accomplish in 2015? I released the first novel of a new fantasy trilogy. Scars of the Sundering, book 1: Malediction sold out at Gen Con. I finished the first drafts for the other two books in the trilogy, as well, Lament and Salvation.

I also wrote (and revised & submitted) a Star Trek short story for the Strange New Worlds contest run by Archway Publishing. If my story, “The Terror Paradox,” is not selected for publication, I will make it available for free here and on my Facebook page.

Finally, I wrote a World of Calliome short story, “Burble’s Big Day,” for inclusion in an anthology to be sold at Gen Con as a joint effort by many of the Author’s Avenue authors. I still need to revise that one, though.

Besides writing, I purchased new character art for several character from the World of Calliome and Zack Jackson novels:

Kale Windsinger

Kale

Delilah

Delilah

Jenny DuBois

Jenny DuBois

Mungus

Mungus

Gisella the Golden Slayer

Gisella the Golden Slayer

Qaliah

Qaliah

The last two, you’ll meet in Scars of the Sundering: Lament. I also got a Kickstarter reward from Stan!: cartoon art of Ryll Bob who made his debut in Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy.

Ryll Bob

Ryll Bob

I learned a lot about attending conventions in 2015, mostly what works and what is cost effective. There’s a balance to strike between attendance & housing costs and how much one can sell. Gen Con, for example, can be profitable for me if I don’t have housing costs (ConQuesT, too, for that matter). I don’t have a choice for the latter convention, but I live close enough to downtown Indianapolis that I might be able to wrangle the logistics for a daily commute to Gen Con. Smaller shows, like the Annual Christmas Gift & Hobby Show, come down to knowing your audience. I didn’t have horrible sales at that show, but the table rental price was far too high for the quality of facilities and I lost money. In contrast, a Christmas Bazaar at a local church had a much lower cost ($35 for a table) and I made money, despite a fraction of the sales.

Finally, once again I placed 3rd in Nuvo’s Reader’s Choice Best of Indy in the Best Local Author category. While it’s difficult to compete with someone who has as large a fan base as John Green, I will point out that I am the ONLY fantasy/science-fiction genre author who made the list.

I count that as a win!

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Character Preview: Qaliah

QaliahIn my last character Sneak Peak, we looked at The Golden Slayer. Also making her debut in Scars of the Sundering: Lament, is the fiendling Qaliah.

Pancras encounters Qaliah at the Arcane University in Muncifer. She already knows Gisella and is currently working off a debt to the Archmage by acting as a sort of court jester. She goes out of her way to be annoying in this capacity, as one might if they know their punishment is needlessly humiliating. Qaliah ditches the jester outfit and accompanies Gisella and Pancras on their journey once her debt is paid.

Her fiendish heritage is evident in her jet-black skin, red eyes, and horns, and Qaliah keenly feels the distrustful stares of most people she encounters. She’s used to fending for herself and defends herself with sharp knives and sharp tongue. She’s not sure why she should care about the challenges facing Pancras and Gisella, yet she sees an opportunity to do something worthwhile when she encounters the minotaur necromancer.

Lament will be available early 2016. Scars of the Sundering, book 1: Malediction is available in print and on Kindle from Amazon.com.

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Scars of the Sundering, Book 1 – Malediction – Pre-Orders Available!

SoS MaledictionAfter MUCH heartache, Scars of the Sundering, Book 1: Malediction is now up for pre-order on Amazon!

Pancras thought trouble waited at the end of his journey.

Shadow demons, chaos rifts, and petty archmages all conspire to disrupt his quiet life. Summoned to face a Mage’s Guild inquest over minor grievances, the minotaur wizard leaves home and travels south with his companions, the twins Delilah and Kale.

Harsh winter weather traps them in an unfriendly city where a run-in with a drunken bully leaves him dead and the trio in jail. Fortunately, the opportunistic prince of the city needs a wizard to curse his unwanted wife. The only catch is Pancras’s sense of honor.

As he stalls for time, the twins involve themselves in an uprising in the city’s salt mines. Pancras left necromancy behind him, but it’s looking more and more like he’ll need to break his moral code–and further anger the Mage’s Guild–to get them out of the city in one piece.

The paperback is also available at Amazon, and, of course, at CreateSpace (where I make more money per copy). I’ll have copies at Gen Con, of course, at table AF on Author’s Avenue (roughly row 1250).

I posted earlier (The Challenge of Malediction) exactly what I went through to get this book finished. It’s such a relief to be done. Basically, this book was delayed by multiple illnesses and deaths (yes, that’s supposed to be plural). It really lived up to its title.

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The Challenge of Malediction

mal*e*dic*tion
noun
:  curse, execration<the maledictions of great poets, whose hate confers an unwelcome immortality — John Buchan>

Origin of MALEDICTION

Middle English malediccioun, from Late Latin malediction-, maledictio, from maledictus (past participle ofmaledicere to curse) + Latin -ion-, -io -ion

First Known Use: 14th century

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Scars of the Sundering – Malediction

Edits are back for book 1 of the Scars of the Sundering trilogy, Malediction! Cover art is finished! The new map is finished! All that remains is incorporating some Beta Reader feedback and doing a final revision pass.

That means that I will have print copies to sell at Gen Con at the end of the month! Official, that’s Thursday, July 30th 2015. In the meantime, here’s the cover art, by Lily Yang.

Malediction Cover art - medium

Since the character went to new places and I fleshed the world out more than I had in The Foundation of Drak-Anor series, I decided to have the map updated, as well. Anna B. Meyer did a fantastic job updating the look of the World of Calliome!

Web

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Scars of the Sundering – MALEDICTION – Preview 5

Finally, we conclude Chapter 1 of Scars of the Sundering, book one: Malediction with our fifth preview. Good thing May has five Fridays! It’s almost as though I planned the whole thing.

SoS Malediction

Pancras realized Kale was in trouble when he caught a glimpse of the little drak dangling by his ankle but knew if he broke his concentration to help his friend, the magic he manipulated to seal the rift would be ruined and he would have to start over.

He repeated the words, over and over, pouring every bit of arcane energy he could gather into the rift. “Stenee pyealee, stenee pyealee.” He wasn’t sure the ritual would work. His experience with magical portals was limited to his knowledge of the portal in Drak-Anor. With the help of Delilah, he spent the last several years studying it off and on, and though he never tried to close it, he was confident he knew the theory behind the process, a theory he had, until now, not tested.

Kale sailed past him through the air and into the rift. Pancras’s heart skipped a beat, and it took all his effort to concentrate on the task at hand. If Kale was inside the rift when he sealed it, he would be trapped in the elemental chaos for eternity. He knew, however, leaving the rift open was far more dangerous to more than just one drak. It pained him to admit it, but closing the rift was worth the life of one drak or even all three of them.

The air crackled as lighting arced across the room. The kaleidoscopic colors gave Pancras a headache. He saw no sign of Kale but noticed Edric struggling with a veritable forest of toothed, suckered tentacles. Pancras felt the portal weakening. Its connection with the Mortal Realm was tenuous, at best, and with the magic he weaved around it, that connection weakened further.

As the wispy tendrils of shadowy smoke coalesced into a familiar, frightening demonic form, Pancras redoubled his efforts and ended the ritual. “STENEE PYEALEE!”

Splurrrt-woosh! Air rushed past them as the rift contracted, and then a sucking sound, reminiscent of viscous goo squirting from a wine skin, filled the room. Pancras felt something slam into him, driving the breath from his lungs. There was a flash of light, and then all was still. Edric’s sword clanged on the ground as the tentacles he fought vanished. The closing rift bisected the bloodmaw: the part in the rift gone, and the part still in this world mortally wounded. It slithered out of the hole in the ceiling and crashed to the floor with a grotesque, wet plop.

As he tried to catch his breath, Pancras fell to his knees. Smokey tendrils wafted from his limbs, growing more and more nebulous until they vanished completely. He no longer saw the shadow demon, but that was no guarantee he eliminated the threat. The dwarf was behind him, getting to his feet. He couldn’t see the drak. “Kale?” Pancras’s voice was hoarse and raspy.

“Ow.”

Pancras walked around the bloodmaw’s carcass to find Kale curled up against the wall. The drak held his head and moaned. Kneeling down next to him, the minotaur put his hand on Kale’s shoulder. The drak’s scales felt hot, feverish, and uncomfortable to touch.

“Kale? Can you move?”

“Can I?” Kale lifted his head as if lead weights were attached to his skull. His eyes seemed different to Pancras, though they had not changed their outward appearance. “Yes, but I don’t want to. I hurt, Pancras. I feel like I’m burning up from the inside out.”

“It’ll pass.” He helped Kale to his feet. I hope.

“What now?” Edric poked at the remains of the bloodmaw with his sword. The angular blade sank into the carcass like a knife into a quivering pile of jelly. He grimaced and yanked it out, shaking slime off it.

Pancras looked around the room. There was still no sign of the shadow demon. “Let’s try to head back to Ironkrag. You dwarves can probably deal with any remaining beasties down here. I recommend collapsing these caverns entirely.” He figured the dwarves would ignore his advice, but he gave it anyway.

“They sent me down here to get rid of me. I’ll bet they never thought I’d come back.”

“Why is the room all twisty?” Kale held his head and staggered as he walked. Pancras reached under his arm and picked him up and was surprised how light the he was, given his propensity for ale.

“If nothing else, you have quite a tale to tell.”

“Aye.”

The three made their way up the twisting tunnel back into the main chamber where Pancras destroyed the ghouls. The cavern was quiet and still, with only the phosphorescent glow of fungus providing light. Nothing stirred, not even cave rats, and by comparison to the cacophony in the cave earlier, to Pancras’s ears their breathing was deafening.

Kale’s body cooled, and by the time they returned to the tunnel leading to Ironkrag, he demanded he be allowed to walk on his own.

“I can walk! You can’t carry me into Ironkrag. We’d never live it down!”

Pancras lowered Kale to the ground before the drak squirmed out of his arms and fell. He kept a close eye on him, though, unsure of whether the effects of the chaos rift were permanent.

He took a deep breath as he saw the area of darkness at the end of the tunnel. “Let’s just get this report to the dwarves over with. Then we can go home.”

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Scars of the Sundering – MALEDICTION – Preview 4

Today is part four in my series of previews of Scars of the Sundering, book one: Malediction. As with the other previews, this scene follows immediately after the previous scenes posted.

SoS Malediction

As Kale listened to the minotaur’s chanting, he wished his sister could be with them. Deli would burninate anything that attacked us right now! He flipped one of his daggers in the air, catching it by the handle.

Edric gripped the hilt of his sword with nervous energy. The dwarf muttered to himself. “Should’ve stayed at the pub. Never deal with this stuff at the bottom of a bottle. Warm beds, happy whores, maybe get a job, pay off my debts, but not this. Never this.”

The air crackled with energy. Kale looked around the room. The walls seemed to undulate and pulse, but he wasn’t sure if that was an effect of the energy in the air or if the walls actually moved. What little he understood about raw chaos made him wish Pancras would hurry.

Something squished between his toes. Kale looked down to see the floor oozing up around his feet. Yelping, he danced around, shaking the goo off them. One of the walls erupted in a shower of blood and ichor, swirling toward the rift like a tornado.

“You have to stop him, Kale.”

Kale stopped and gasped when he saw who spoke. It was his twin sister, Delilah. Her crimson and ebony scales glinted in the sickly light of the rift. She leaned on her skull-topped staff and flashed her eyes at him, smiling.

“Come, Kale,” Delilah held her arm out for him. “Let’s leave this nasty place. Come away with me.”

Kale looked back at Pancras. The necromancer gave no indication he saw or heard her. It sounds like Deli… but it doesn’t. He walked toward her. She put her arm around him and hugged him close, her muzzle tickling his ear.

“It ain’t real!”

Deli jerked back as Edric pulled on her arm, hacking at it with his sword. She squealed as the dwarf sliced through skin and bone, black ichor spewing from the ragged stump.

“Deli!” Kale lunged toward Edric.

The dwarf caught Kale’s arm just as the drak stabbed at him with a dagger. “I told you, it ain’t real. Look!”

Kale’s attention wavered just enough for him to see Delilah dissolve into a tentacle that retracted into the wall. He shuddered and pushed Edric away. Two more tentacles shot out of the wall headed for Pancras. With a shout, Kale leapt toward them, slashing with his daggers.

Tentacles from the ceiling snagged Edric. The dwarf cursed and slashed at them with his sword. Each slash met with a splash of ichor, like grease bursting from plump sausages. One of the tentacles wrapped around Kale’s ankle, dragging him into the air.

Slashing at the tentacle which held him, Kale felt his dagger draw a line of burning fire across his leg. He cursed at his clumsiness and then screamed when the tentacle flicked him like a bit of mud on a shoe. He sailed through the air into the rift.

Kale’s world burst into flashes of green, yellow, and silver. He spun, wheeling through eternity in a realm where up and down were the same as left and right. He could see the flavor of ripe apples and roasted meat. Opening his mouth to cry out, Kale found he could only smell the sound of Pancras’s chanting.

Through to the other side of the rift he sailed, and as he crashed into a metallic wall, Kale’s world went dark.

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